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Sci-Fi

Michael Crichton Dead At 66 388

Many readers have submitted stories about the death of Michael Crichton. The 66-year-old author of Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain died unexpectedly Tuesday "after a courageous and private battle against cancer," a press release said. In addition to writing, he also directed such sci-fi classics as Westworld and Runaway. Crichton was married five times and had one child.

Researchers Decentralize BitTorrent 262

A Cow writes "The Tribler BitTorrent client, a project run by researchers from several European universities and Harvard, is the first to incorporate decentralized search capabilities. With Tribler, users can now find .torrent files that are hosted among other peers, instead of on a centralized site such as The Pirate Bay or Mininova. The Tribler developers have found a way to make their client work without having to rely on BitTorrent sites. Although others have tried to come up with similar solutions, such as the Cubit plugin for Vuze, Tribler is the first to understand that with decentralized BitTorrent search, there also has to be a way to moderate these decentralized torrents in order to avoid a flood of spam."
Intel

Submission + - Worlds First Quad Core Capable Laptop Spy Pics

Jason writes: "This laptop will supposedly support dual 8800 Video cards, a 17" screen and chassis, Up to three internal hard drives of 160GB each, and the new quad core Intel CPU all using a 965 chipset. We dont think the cooling solution is up to the task of cooling that amount of heat but time will tell. Spy Pictures of World's First Quad Core Capable Laptop"
Announcements

Submission + - Intel ISEF Winners Announced

marshmallow soup writes: "Last Friday brought the 2007 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair to a close. Top honors and a $50,000 scholarship went to Jack Li of Maryland, Philip Streich of Wisconsin, and Dmitry Vaintrob of Oregon. Projects ranged from building robots to studying suspended animation to advanced proofs in string topology. You can find a list of winners here."
Software

Submission + - Testing AJAX applications

matthew.thompson writes: "At work we've recently taken delivery of a web application that we host for a partner company. We were informed that the application would use a little more bandwidth but in going live it's gone from creating 4Mbps to 20Mbps of traffic. While we're a little late in discovering this can anyone suggest any load testing tools which make it easy to test AJAX applications with results that management can understand but enough detail for developers to be able to tweak the app?"
Microsoft

Submission + - Vista problems reaching mainstream press

mcgrew (sm62704) writes: "The tech press has been talking about Vista's shortcomings for quite a while now; Slashdot has posted numerous stories. Today I saw a "Tech Talk" in the St Louis Post Dispatch, one of the US' largest mainstream newspapers. The article is about a "normal" (i.e., non-geek) user's woes. From the article:

After his initial computer purchase from a local retailer, he tried starting Vista and had no luck: It gagged on other preinstalled software, and the retailer had no remedy. He received a replacement laptop.

On our colleague's second try, he ran into a wall with Microsoft, which insisted through its online validation process that his copy of Vista was not legitimate. About a third of all new Vista owners with valid copies of the OS already have suffered through this. The retailer assured our colleague that his Vista was valid but replaced his laptop again anyway to solve the problem.

Armed with yet another new laptop, our colleague escaped repeats of the first two problems but hit a new bump: Vista refused to acknowledge his computer's peripheral devices, even though Microsoft's own hardware compatibility list said it should.

He returned to the retailer and this time asked for his money back. He says he might try buying his first Mac with the refund. "There's only so much I'm willing to put up with," our colleague said. "I just wanted the [expletive] computer to work, you know. Isn't that all anyone wants?"
I notice that he returned the second computer because of MS' onerous DRM, which insisted that the OS was counterfeit. I'm aghast that one in three valid copies are flagged as "pirated". Note: I'm not a Mac user; my OS of choice is Mandriva."
Slashdot.org

Submission + - Slashdot's Firehose: Misplaced democracy?

PetManimal writes: "The Slashdot Firehose is a 'bad metaphor and a bad idea,' or so says Computerworld's Joyce Carpenter, who has been using the user-directed submission rating system since it was introduced a few months ago. She points to an increase in unworthy submissions — some of which seem to be part of 'viral marketing scams' — and says that they make Firehose unpleasant for everyone:

The increased number of unworthy submissions makes more unpleasant work for the editors as well as members of the community. A bigger hose with more crap in it just means that the editors have to read all that crap — and so do the voting members of the community. That's just more work for everyone.
She also questions whether Zonk and Co. are even using the recommendations that make it to the top of the Firehose ratings:

So far as I can tell, the editors still make the decisions. Good for them. I have no need for democracy in the selection of stories at a site that has done an excellent, if elitist, job of using editorial judgment. That's what makes it such a good site. Drain the hydrant and throw away with the hose.
"
Privacy

Submission + - Bill bans NSA eavesdropping

Anonymous Coward writes: "The US house of representatives today passed a bill outlawing illegal domestic wiretapping by the government. Now Bush can pry into your private communications only under terms of FISA.

The ACLU noted that, despite many recent hearings about "modernization" and "technology neutrality," the administration has not publicly provided Congress with a single example of how current FISA standards have either prevented the intelligence community from using new technologies, or proven unworkable for the agents tasked with following them."
Space

Submission + - Remains of James Doohan lost after landing

caffiend666 writes: "According to a Space.com news article the cremated remains of 200 people were lost in mountains after trip to space. 'The search for the UP Aerospace payload of experiments and the cremated remains of some 200 people — including "Scotty" of Star Trek fame, as well as pioneeering NASA Mercury astronaut, Gordon Cooper — continues within rugged New Mexico mountain landscape.' Is it just me, or does it appropriate that they lost the landing party? He wasn't wearing a red shirt, was he? Here's to a safe recovery!"
Television

Submission + - HBO Says DRM Is Misnomer; Has even better term!

TheOrderOfTheGrandWhoop writes: Broadcast Newsrooms is reporting, via the AP, that HBO's CTO Bob Zitter thinks Digital rights management (DRM) is the wrong term for technology that secures programmers' content as it moves to new digital platforms since it emphasized restrictions instead of opportunities. Instead, Zitter would like to provide us, the consumers, with a new, snazzy, even better, Firefox-spell-checker hating: Digital Consumer Enablement or DCE for 'those in the biz'. Zitter also laments that the fact that current high-definition set-tops still output unencrypted analog video through their component video outputs makes it too much of a piracy risk to widely offer high-definition HBO content on-demand today.
Google

Submission + - Google relaunches IG for social networking ?

cyberianpan writes: The recently troubled Google Homepage is to be rebranded as iGoogle. Feature enhancements will include being able to make your own gadgets including picture albums,youtueb videos , daily plan etc. Interestingly your gadgets will be shared with "your community" being your gmail contacts. This smells like MySpace -is this Google's first serious step into social networking space ?
Power

Submission + - Wireless power on the desktop scale

RockDoctor writes: Nature are reporting early versions of a desktop-ready device for wirelessly powering equipment. A plastic sheet a millimeter thick on the desktop contains induction coils, microelectromechanical switches and control circuitry, applied to a conductive polymer base by various forms of printing. When the sheet detects a compatible receiver within range (~2.5cm), the nearest coil is switched on and provides the receiver with up to 40W of power inductively. The devices are not yet ready for mainstream — another 5 years of development is estimated — and there is the issue of persuading manufacturers to incorporate the receiving equipment into their new designs. But a projected price of ~$100 for a square metre of transmitter is credible (SG $ ? or CA or US? not specified in the article; the developers are in Japan). Now, if you could get power receivers that would supply (for example) a conventional mobile-phone charging-cradle, that would be a useful step towards widespread acceptance.

Could this lead to the start of a new VHS-vs-BetaMax or HDDVD-vs-BluRay style compatibility war? If one manufacturer is trying such an obvious idea, likely others are.
Security

Submission + - The Week Of Vista Bugs [TWOVB]

codepupil writes: During one week (2007-04-02/08) new undisclosed vulnerabilities / discovered in the Windows Vista operating system and softwares will be publicly disclosed on this page, . This project is launched as a challenge by an unofficial team of security experts. Security advisories including advanced technical details will be provided

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